Archive for March, 2013


Breakfast ideas for work

Categories: Food, Meal Planning

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I’m not a big breakfast eater.

There, I said it. Yes, I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all, I really do. But, even as a little kid, I was never really hungry until mid-morning. Actually, you can set a clock by my stomach. If I’m hungry, it must be 10:30 am, which is seriously inconvenient because places have stopped serving breakfast, but aren’t serving lunch, yet.

By the time I get hungry, I’m well into my work day and I don’t always have time to go get something. Sometimes I remember to bring something with me, but not always since I’m usually scrambling to get everyone out the door in the mornings. So, I try to keep a few things in the office that make a fairly decent breakfast.

My office has a refrigerator and a microwave, so I can keep a few perishable things on hand.  Some of the things I try to keep in the office:

1. Instant oatmeal packets

2. Grapenuts and yogurt (I try to bring enough yogurt for the week on Mondays)

3. Apples

4. Peanut butter and crackers

That’s about it. I’m getting tired of having the same things around, though. Do you have any ideas for breakfast foods to keep at work? Please share them so I can go to the store tomorrow!

5 tips for moving your child out of the college dorm

Categories: Organization, Tips and Tricks

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It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was writing tips about how to pack for college as I was sending my first child away, and now it’s time to think about coming home? Time certainly does fly as she’s just a few weeks away from finishing her first year.

Since she’s several hours away and doesn’t have a car this year, this is going to require a little planning. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

1. Know the rules and the dates of move-out - My daughter has to be out of her dorm 24 hours after her last exam and, after looking at the exam schedule I noticed her last exam is on the final day of school, so it’s not going to leave much time to pack. Also, you have to check out with the RA and there’s a room inspection, so we need to be sure to leave time to clean, too.

2. Check your own schedule - School is several hours away from home, so moving her out will mean an overnight stay for us on a weekday, so vacation time is required on my part, and I even remembered to request it early!

3. Make hotel reservations early - Plan your trip as soon as possible, I’ve discovered that the trip to move her out also coincides with the university’s graduation and the nearest hotel I could book is 45 minutes away! Even if I could have gotten a room in town, the prices were all sky high, so I imagine it pays to reserve early.

4. Ship boxes to your student ahead of time - Since she’ll be in exams, it’s not going to leave a lot of time for packing. I’ve sent boxes to her so (crosses fingers) she can pack a little at a time. If school is a long way from home, have your student ship the boxes back packed with things they can spare before school is done.

5. Bring back a little at a time - If it’s an option, bring back a little with you when you visit since move-out day may be crazy and vehicle space is limited. I’ve already brought some winter clothes of hers home, and I’m going to visit next week and I hope to bring back things like unused kitchen items, shelves and other miscellaneous items.

I hope planning ahead a little pays off, I’ll let you know how it goes!

5 accessories to keep your electronic gadgets working on the road

Categories: Organization, travel

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With a kid 4 hours away in college, and other kids in sports, we do a lot of traveling. And, like it or not, traveling these days often involves a lot of electronic gadgets, and the gadgets require their own gadgets to keep them working when you’re on the road.

Over the years, we’ve perfected our travel electronics routine and have learned to have certain accessories on hand to keep everything going, and everyone happy. I keep a bag I call (oddly enough) the “electronics bag” with these supplies in it, and it has saved our sanity on the road more than once:

1. Car lighter socket splitter - when everyone’s in the car, there’s never enough sockets to plug things in. so we keep a 3 way splitter in each car. (Shop carefully and be sure to get a quality one for safety, though.)

2. Extra ear phones - Self-explanatory. Someone is bound to forget theirs and blame everyone else for it. Preserve your sanity and theirs by producing that spare set when you’re 100 miles from nowhere.

3. Spare phone charger - Just like the ear phones, someone is bound to forget a phone charger. Occasionally, that someone is me. Fortunately, we all have the same phone, so we just have one kind to keep a spare for.

4. Inverter - This gadget can provide a handy 110V outlet to power small gadgets (again, be careful and buy quality, test it out to be safe) that don’t have a car adapter.

5. FM modulator - If I’m driving kids by myself, once I get everyone settled in the back seat, I like to listen to podcasts. My car is older, and doesn’t have a line-in jack or a place to connect an iPod, so this gadget that uses an FM radio frequency to play your stuff can be handy. They’re not always the best sound quality, but they serve their purpose for me.

What kinds of things do you take on the road to keep your electronic gadgets going? Tell us in the comments below.

How to get rid of mystery smells in the closet wall

Categories: Cleaning

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I live in an old house. If you live in an old house, you will get where I’m coming from. If you don’t, you may be slightly horrified. Either way, I need some help.

I’ll just lay it out here: the closet in one of the bedrooms smells like dead animal.

Yes, old house living means that every now and then, something crawls into the wall and dies. Usually, the smell is gone in a couple of weeks, but it’s lingering for some reason. It’s not horrific, but it’s definitely there. The closet is upstairs and doesn’t have vents, so it’s not coming from somewhere else.

So far, we’ve:

1. Put an air cleaner/purifier thing in there.

2. Cleaned out the entire closet.

3. Put a pan of charcoal in there.

4. Put several cups on vinegar in there.

We’re trying to avoid calling a professional service, but we’re at the point we’re considering taking the wall out. Do you have any suggestions about how to get a dead animal smell out of a closet?

I’m all ears, let me know in the comments below.